Disparate Impact Case Study Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Tanglewood Case Study

This report is meant to provide a summary and analysis of Tanglewood and its future respective to its hiring requirements, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) concerns and other similar human resources matters. Included in this report is a hiring need analysis, a gap analysis, an assessment of demographic hiring and promotion percentages, what could or should be done to address any inconsistencies or potential compliance problems and how the individual stores could and should responds to the objectives and desired outcomes mentioned elsewhere in this report. While Tanglewood is not in grave danger of an EEO kerfuffle, there are some troubling patterns in hiring and promotion that need to be addressed right away so that the government does not get too interested in what Tanglewood is or is not doing correctly.


The first item up for discussion is the hiring and gap analysis for the fifty stores of the Tanglewood chain. While the overall workforce is at decent and legal levels at the onset, this tends to change over the years as the projections go on and people move up the promotional chain and this needs to be altered quickly and soundly. Before getting to the analysis, there needs to be a summary of the current workforce. In total, there are 8500 regular store associates, 1200 shift leaders, 850 department managers, 150 assistant store managers and fifty store managers. Of course, there will be turnover in those positions as the years go on. Roughly fifty-three percent of regular associates are burned off in the first year and then the churn continues in future years as people break off from the promotional path. The Markov Analysis, forecast of availabilities and gap analysis are all displayed on the next page.

Tables of Analysis

Environment Scan

As noted in the environment scan, the Pacific Northwest has a "soft" labor market. This allows for easier hiring of management personnel because there are a lot of people seeking jobs that are qualified for management positions but yet cannot find work due to the overall job market being what it is. However, retail positions of all levels, especially management positions, is saddled with the perception that retail positions involve long hours with little chance of advancement. This is less problematic with entry-level positions but a bigger issue with management positions. Part of the derision towards the retail sector is earned but part of it is actually unfair. It is stated within the parameters leading up to this report that the culture and options available to Tanglewood employers more than offsets a lot of concerns. However, the danger with hiring retail people during a recession is that they are very likely to seek greener economic and job pastures when the economy improves, which it will at some point.

With the above being said, the analysis shows that the bulk of the hires will emanate from the entry-level store associate position but there will also be a turn of churn in the other segments including about a third of shift leaders, almost half of the department managers, about two thirds of assistant store managers and not quit etwo fifths of store managers.

Demographic Analysis

In looking at the trends of Tanglewood's hiring and promotions, there are some troubling trends. The store associates are actually good looking except for the overall minority percentage. It is only 7.9% and that is a bit low considering that 13% of the national population is black and that ignores very large groups like Latinos and others. When looking at Census 2013 data for Washington State, whites only account for 81.2% of the total population. Blacks are only 4.0% but Hispanics are nearly twelve percent. As such, a 7.9 minority rate is a little on the low side as it is one half of the black plus the Latino percentages, let alone other group.

Also troubling is how the female and minority rates noticeably taper off as one moves up the promotion chain. This is true with external hires as well as internal promotions. For example, 53.1% of store associates are women. The external hires for shift leaders holds strong at this percentage but internal promotions for the same is nearly ten percent less. The pattern holds with the minority populations as there is no drop with external hires but a drop of nearly one percent (out of nearly eight) on the internal promotions. These numbers get worse when looking at the department managers as even the external hires take a dip from 7.9% to 6.7% for minorities and from 53.1% to 31.0% for internal promotions and 39.4% for external promotions. When accounting for weighting, the numbers are even worse.

When looking at incumbency data, the figures are also troubling. With store associates, the incumbency rate for women is 41.6% and the female availability rate is 53.1%. These rates fall to 37% and 45%, respectively, for shift leaders and 24.3/33.9%, also respectively, for department managers. When looking at minoritiy incumbency/avilaibility, the store associates are at 5.2% and 7.9% but drop to 4.8/6.8 (respectively) for shift leaders but actually rise back up in part for department managers by going to 5.0 and 5.5, respectively. The data is not all bad and very well may not be intentional. However, it may be a bit difficult to explain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should the issue come up. Since the Tanglewood chain does business with the federal government, it absolutely will come up sooner or later. In short, the stores seem to be doing fine as far as store associate positions go but Tanglewood needs to get its act together on the higher positions or at least find a plausible and unintentional reason why the proportions shift so suddenly and negatively as the position in question gets higher. There may be an innocent explanation but the cause, regardless of what it is, needs to be fettered out and solved in due haste.

In terms of what the Tanglewood chain could and should do to rectify the problems identified, the good news is that the starting employee base from which promotions are largely garnered has the basic balance that is needed. Again, the minority count is a little on the small side but that can be cancelled out with external hires for management positions for the time being and through general hiring for all positions over time. Regarding a solution to the issue, hiring fairs and efforts should be made to target areas in the neighborhood that are minority- and women-rich. Publications in the area that are heavily used and frequented by minorities and women can be targeted so as to get more of the desired applicants to wash out the disparities that are coming to light as hiring and promotions go on. The pros and cons of internal promotions vs. external hiring are numerous. Pros of hiring from within is that it illustrates to the employees that they can work their way up the company if they so choose. Another pro-is that promoted insiders are not new to the Tanglewood culture and thus do not need an adjustment period to get used to and acclimated to the culture. The downside to internal promotions is that the applicant pool is finite and limited and sometimes freshness in attitude and culture can be a good thing. The pros of going outside the company for management positions is that new blood can invigorate a team and make it clear that under-performing associates and other lower positions will not be promoted just for the sake of keeping hiring in-house. That being said, hiring outside people can aggravate internal employees and those new employees do need to align themselves with the culture of Tanglewood even if they bring a fresh and good perspective to the company. This…

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